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Asian shares to open higher on renewed U.S. stimulus hopes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asian shares were set to track Wall Street gains on Thursday, as renewed hopes for more U.S. stimulus helped restore investor confidence in the New York session.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

U.S. President Donald Trump sent a flurry of late night tweets on Wednesday urging Congress to pass piece-meal aid packages for targeted industries, small business and consumers, backing off his earlier stance to unilaterally end negotiations.

Markets are also starting to price in a Democratic sweep during the U.S. election in November as new polls show former Vice President Joe Biden with a firm lead. Investors see such an outcome making the passage of a new stimulus bill more likely.

“Even if there was no slimmed down stimulus package, there is a greater chance of a larger stimulus package later,” National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland said of a potential Biden victory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 1.91%, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.74% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 1.88%.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 1.05%.

Gains in Asian futures were more muted ahead of a U.S. employment data release that’s expected to show the recovery in the world’s largest economy losing steam. Economists forecast a decline in jobless claims however, continued claims are expected to remain firmly above 10 million.

Many members of the Federal Open Market Committee said their economic outlook assumed additional fiscal support, according to U.S. Federal Reserve minutes released on Wednesday. Central bank officials believe if aid packages are too small or too late, the economy is in for a weak recovery.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 rose 0.07%. Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures YAPcm1 rose 0.42% in early Asia trade.

Japan's Nikkei 225 futures NKc1 added 0.08%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures .HSIHSIc1 rose 0.29%.

Fresh stimulus hopes prompted a rally in gold and tamped safe-haven demand for U.S. Treasuries and the dollar.

Spot gold XAU= rose 0.5% to $1,887.05 per ounce but U.S. gold futures GCv1 settled down 0.9%.

On Wednesday, U.S. 10-year yields US10YT=RR rose to 0.786% from 0.74% late on Tuesday. Yields on U.S. 30-year bonds US30YT=RR were at 1.593%, up from 1.537% the previous session.

The dollar index =USD fell 0.19% against a basket of major currencies to 93.64.

In energy markets, oil prices dropped due to a larger-than-expected increase in inventories.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 66 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $41.99 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell 72 cents, or 1.8%, to settle at $39.95 a barrel.

Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Sam Holmes

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